The constitution-making outreach programme has started today, with COPAC deploying 728 officers throughout the country to solicit and hear the views of the people and their contributions to the constitution-making process.
This follows yesterdayâ€™s meeting by the three principals to the Global Political Agreement, United Nations developmental agencies and members of COPAC, to the mark launch of the programme.Â
One of the co-chairs of the Constitution Parliamentary Committee team, Douglas Mwonzora, was earlier in the week quoted as saying each outreach team is composed of 10 officers who will capture the views of the people.
â€œEach outreach team will be accompanied by five police officers whose duty will be to maintain peace at each of the gatherings. The consultations will take place in 65 days and we hope that it will be violent free,â€ he said.
During the launch, the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, President Robert Mugabe implored Zimbabweans to shun violence and be tolerantÂ of each otherâ€™s views, as agreed upon by the three principals.Â Â Â Â
The President also urged both the state and the independent media to help in the maintenance of peace during the constitution-making and outreach programme.
He said the wish for discord and lack of harmony among some media sections is unfounded and should not be allowed to disturb theÂ process.Â Â Â Â
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai stressed the need for peace and urged the police to be alert and ensure that the process is not disrupted by unruly elements.Â Â Â Â Â
Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara described the outreach programme as a dialogue among Zimbabweans and reiterated the need for tolerance during the constitution-making process.Â Â
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He also suggested that other political partiesÂ not in the inclusive government must also be incorporated into the process.Â
This new constitution will replace the Lancaster House Constitution, which has been in operation since independence, although with amendments.
President Mugabe said the Lancaster House Constitution had its initial inhibitions, hence Zimbabweans are now free and sovereign to come up with their own supreme law.